Labor and Birth Support Doula FAQs
How a Labor Support Doula Helps You Have a More Positive Birth Experience
Pregnancy, labor, and childbirth can all be just as stressful as they can be beautiful. With so much to think about and plan for, it’s no wonder that most expecting parents feel overwhelmed. Even after attending childbirth classes and reading all the latest pregnancy books, questions pop up. If you’re like most parents, you may feel as if you’ll never be fully ready for that moment when the baby will arrive.
It’s exactly at this time when there’s nothing more important than having access to reliable insights and caring support when you need it. Having a skilled doula by your side during pregnancy and labor can help you have a healthy, positive and less stressful birth experience. But what exactly is a doula and how can having one make for an easier and more comfortable delivery?
We’ve answered your most common labor and birth support doula questions here. To learn more about hiring a doula to help make life easier after you have your baby, visit our Postpartum Doula FAQs page. Or if you’d like to learn more about doulas in general, including the financial investment in hiring a doula, click here.
A labor doula is a trained professional who provides nonmedical support during labor and delivery. A doula helps you prepare for labor and provides comfort during childbirth. Your doula is an expert childbirth consultant who can help optimize a normal and safe progression of labor. A doula brings experience and wisdom to help nurture your confidence so you feel more at ease throughout the whole process. When you work with a doula, you have an ongoing resource to help you sort through birthing options or communicate effectively with doctors, midwives, and nurses to create an atmosphere of calm and cooperation in the delivery room.
Both low and high risk women have better outcomes and experience a greater satisfaction with the birthing experience when a doula is present during labor. Studies have also shown a wide range of medical benefits, including a safer delivery. Having a labor doula has been shown to:
- Reduce the duration of labor
- Reduce the need for cesarean and instrumental deliveries
- Reduce the needs for epidurals or pain medication
At Birthways, we have doulas with experience in supporting a wide range of needs and preferences. Our expert support is helpful for women with complex health histories, including but not limited to prior injuries or muscular-skeletal anomalies or weakness.
We are happy to support your specific birth preferences - whether you have an interest in HypnoBabies, HypnoBirthing, Spinning Babies, Mindfulness, Yoga, or simply have no idea how to frame this unfamiliar experience, we can match you with a doula that’s right for you.
Comfort measures for pregnancy, birth and postpartum including massage techniques, positioning ideas, and visualization strategies. Your doula’s “Doula bag” includes hot and cold compresses, aromatherapy and massage tools. A Birthways doula works with you to find the comfort measures most effective for you, and is familiar with a wide range of approaches, including hypnobirthing, yoga and mindfulness, and other mind/body practices to bring you relief.
Your doula can provide a massage during pregnancy or while you’re in labor to help you feel more comfortable. After childbirth, a Birthways doula can provide postpartum massage services in your home and can instruct you in Infant Massage as well.
With Birthways, you don’t have to worry about timing. We are flexible and understand that nature has its own schedule. Just reserve your doula ahead of time (by 27 weeks of pregnancy) and your doula will be ready to support you whenever that special time comes.
Birthways doulas have a broad experience and wisdom to support:
- First time mothers
- Women who have previously given birth
- Women with vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC)
- Home births
- Hospital births
- Common (and not-so-common) complications
- Women with complex medical histories, prior injuries or muscular-skeletal anomalies or weaknesses
We will work with physical therapists or other health care teams to support and protect your body during childbirth.
Doulas are not just beneficial to those who have natural childbirth. While having doula support does decrease the need for pain medication, a doula can work with you to reduce the stress and fear associated with childbirth. Whether you are afraid of pain, needles, or not knowing what to expect, a doula will be there with you every step of the way to help you feel relaxed and confident.
Birthways Sibling Care During Labor can help the children in your family prepare for your coming baby and even support them while you give birth. Whether you are planning for your older child or children to attend the birth, or if you need a loving caregiver to care for the big brother or sister at home, a Birthways doula can help.
Even if you’re taking childbirth classes, a doula can better help you understand normal labor patterns so you know what to expect. A doula can even help you demystify decision-making before you enter the delivery room and when interventions are suggested.
A doula can help you set up your house and ready your baby things, including setting up the nursery and making sure you have what you need when you bring your little one home for the first time.
A traditional labor support package ranges from $800-2500, depending on the doula’s level of experience. At Birthways, this gets you:
- A 24/7 on-call doula beginning at 37 weeks of pregnancy
- A free intake with our Care Coordinator and their matchmaking expertise
- Free interviews as you select your perfect Birthways doula
- Up to 3 prenatal visits focused on your preparation and preferences for birth and early postpartum
- Continuous support through labor and delivery
- Immediate postpartum support following delivery
- Postpartum follow-up visit to check-in on how everyone is doing at home
- 30 minutes of free Warmline support for basic feeding questions
After you give birth, a doula can provide:
- Support during the move from your birth facility back home
- Breastfeeding and lactation guidance
- Newborn care - day and/or overnight up to 24 hours a day
- Help at home - whether preparing nourishing meals, folding laundry or tidying your home
To learn more about having doula support when you bring your baby home, visit our Postpartum Doulas FAQ page.